I love creating my own knitting patterns based off of nothing but the basic guidelines for pattern making. For example, creating a top down mitten which has a standard thumb gusset knitted later with provisional stitches. You don’t really need a pattern for this. You just need to know how these pieces are structured, and then you need to decide a multiple of stitches to work in. I usually work in multiples of 3s, 4s or 5s. Once you know what your multiples of stitches are you can add cables, fair aisle patterns, simple lace, just by doing a repeated pattern which fits in the multiples you are working with. So if I’m making a mitten and the gauge requires that I cast on 15 stitches to start, I will likely end up with a multiple of 5 or 3 when I finish my increases so I would choose to do my ribbing for the cuff either with “K2 P1” pattern, or “K5 P5” depending on how stretchy I want the cuff to be. This mitten pictured ended up having a “K1 P1” cuff. I think I cast on 12 to start.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I homeschool math learners, and this is the most typical math I use as a creative person. It’s the knitters equivalent to making change when you work in retail. You begin to know which stitch patterns to use just as quickly as a cashier can make change from $50 for a bill of $42.67.
This natural math-i-ness inspired my next freebie worksheet for homeschoolers. My first grader and I are doing a very relaxed “Five-in-a-row” style curriculum this year, and we’re working from Jan Brett’s book, The Mitten. Since we’re also working on skip counting by 2s, 5s and 10s, I made this simple knitting skip counting worksheet. I hope that you give it a try. It would really work for anyone from 1st to 3rd grade depending on how strong their multiplication skills are. Ours are nonexistent over here so this seems like a good place to start.
Feel free to download and use for your personal lessons. Please link back to the original post if you do share it! If you use this with your kids let me know how it goes. I might make some more knitting worksheets in the future for pattern making and geometry. Knitting is such a great reason to do math I just can’t help myself!
You think I would be working on my handmade Christmas presents full time. But you’d be mistaken. I spent my free time making these adorable cupcake toys while Cressida ate lunch.
They are made with brown fleece I got out of the remnant section. I cut a 9 inch by 2 inch strip of fleece and put a long bead of hot glue down the strip at an angle and folded the edge over. Then I rolled it into a cupcake shape, fattest edge in the middle, moving out to the narrower edge. I covered the bottom of the roll with hot glue and stuffed it into a mini paper cupcake wrapper and squeezed a bead of hot glue around between the wrapper and the “cupcake.” After it was all gluey and my fingers were getting a bit uncomfortably warm I stuffed the whole thing into my mini-cupcake pan and put something heavy on top to hold it in until the hot glue dried.
I made a half dozen of the little guys. They’re great stocking stuffers, but I ruined the surprise by making them in front of Cress, so they went straight into the kitchen set toy bin.
It’s cool that I fudged the surprise. I’m making a hand knit poncho for Liv, knitted leg warmers for Elise and a koala applique shirt for Cress, so the handmade goodness is still going to flow. I’ll be sure to post pictures as I finish projects!
Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love it even more than Christmas. I think the reason I like Halloween so much is that no matter how much consumer junk there is available to just buy and be done with it, there is really no reason to accidentally spend $1000 on Halloween like there is for Christmas. Also, no matter how easy it is to buy a Halloween costume, it doesn’t discourage a ton of people from getting down with their creative self (even if they think they aren’t creative) to make a costume out of clothes from the thrift store or cardboard or fabric.
This year I spent the two weeks leading up to our school’s “Trunk or Treat” making a family’s worth of under the sea themed costumes. The girls all decided to be mermaids, so that was easy. We went online and looked at Google Images of mermaid costumes until they picked the one they liked the best. They settled on the ones that were the easiest to make, thank goodness, and I got them all done in one weekend.
Everyone say Hi to our neighbor, the fairy.
My original plan was to make a Cat Bus hoodie for my costume, but the girls told me I needed to be in the theme, so I changed my mind to octopus. I used 2 yards of fleece fabric (because it’s OHIO and it’s cold on Halloween every year) and draped it over my mannequin to make the pattern. There was no measuring, just guessing, because that is what knit fabric is for.
Notice I am not the only crazy person in this family.
I used jewelry wire to hold the non-sleeve tentacles in shape, and hot glued minkie fleece to the underside of the tentacles for suction cups.
Then we made a giant sand castle out of cardboard boxes and sprayed it with glitter glue. And put the whole thing in front of a fabric ocean scene hanging from the gate of our trunk. And for the whole event I played Octopus’s Garden by the Beatles on the van’s speakers. Can’t you tell everyone loved it?
Oh yeah. I never got a picture of it, but Rob wore a golden crown and carried a trident I made out of a hiking stick. And we passed out Swedish Fish.
I may have gone a bit overboard.